Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2017 Contents news A5
Thursday, February 9, 2017 guardian.co.tt
T&T almost a
PSC boss: Technology, domestic violence crimes too high
In terms of crime, T&T is almost a
barbaric society due to technology and
domestic violence crimes, says Police
Service Commission chairman Dr Ma-
Gomes made the comment while appearing
before Parliament's Joint Select Committee
She said the opportunity for the JSC exam-
ination was very timely, since the PSC was
acutely aware of existing crime and increas-
ing fear and insecurity in the public domain.
Gomes said T&T has technology that
"has galloped" but added that the author-
ities didn't have "what people see on TV to
solve crime easily."
She said many things are needed, from
benchmarking and forensic analysis to po-
lice training and the Police Academy. But she
said the PSC has limited staff.
"None of us---neither you nor I---have a
magic wand," she told JSC members.
PSC member Dinanath Ramkissoon said
there are detection rates mandated for dif-
ferent police divisions.
Gomes said it "augured well" for the PSC
to manage its own funds. She said the com-
mission hadn't had equipment - VCRs etc
- to record materials and it had taken a long
time to get a Flow connection.
She said commissioners' lunch was often
sandwiches during a long day of work and
the PSC needed money to have a decent meal
in such periods.
JSC member Jennifer Baptiste-Prim-
us agreed that the case was made for PSC
commissioners to be full time, after PSC
legal adviser Natasha Seecharan said there
were 200 appeal cases involving officers and
members of the public. Three of the five PSC
commissioners sit on the Appeal Tribunal.
Gomes said the PSC is a vital body which
requires a full time chairman and deputy
chair to become more effective. The PCS,
she said, hadn't done a manpower audit
of the police service because it lacked the
staff to conduct this. There was, however, an
interim review by Public Administration in
2014, involving streamlining.
On recent criticism of the PSC by the Police
Social and Welfare Association, Gomes said
the PSWA knew the PSC's challenges and
both had met.
"They have their job to do and we have
ours---everyone has a role to play," she said.
A group of religious leaders yester-
day urged police officers to have faith
in their ability to tackle the country's
At an interfaith service held by the
Northern Division of the T&T Police Ser-
vice at the Santa Rosa RC Church, Arima,
Roman Catholic priest Father Dwight Black
and Seven Day Adventist pastor Clive Dot-
tin expressed optimism about the police's
ability to reduce crime.
"You have to be angels of hope. If you
feel you are going to lose the battle, you
done lose already," Dottin said.
Black, who led the service, called on the
police to be virtuous in executing their
duties. He said positive attitudes from
police officers might inspire change in
law-breaking citizens and earn the con-
fidence of law-abiding citizens.
"Virtue can transform anything. It can
turn fear into courage and aggression into
love," he said.
Black also urged the media to refrain
from sensationalising crime, as he said
negative news might be contributing to
"We will not get out of this dark hole if
we are only looking at what is bad. Focus-
ing on good will transform us," Black said.
Similar encouraging remarks were de-
livered by religious leaders representing
the Hindu, Muslim and Pentecostal faiths.
Speaking after the service, head of the
division, Senior Supt McDonald, thanked
the religious leaders for their continued
support, which he said was vital in their
"As you all will know, a lot of the crime
we are having are not based on organised
crime but instead on negativity and dys-
functionality coming in the home and
"We need to work together with these
major foundations and institutions to ar-
rest the problem of crime and delinquency
in Trinidad and Tobago," he said.
Commenting on the division's 2016 de-
tection rate, McDonald said 23 per cent of
serious crimes were solved and there was a
58 per cent detection rate for minor crimes.
"Yes we need to improve our detection
rate but we only tend to focus on serious
crimes, especially murders. We need to look
at it from a holistic manner to see how the
police are dealing with the crime situation
in T&T," he said.
Sergeant Kevin Greene greets Arima Girls' RC students during the TTPS Northern Division's interfaith service at the Santa Rosa
Roman Catholic Church, Arima, yesterday. PHOTO: AYANNA KINSALE
for top cop
The process for hiring a permanent Com-
missioner of Police has moved forward, with
one firm out of four bidders being "favourably
Police Service Commission chairman Dr Maria
Therese Gomes confirmed yesterday that the firm
was notified that it is being considered, but no con-
tract has been awarded.
Gomes indicated this in Parliament in response
to questions from a Joint Select Committee which
examined the PSC's operations
Commenting on the status of the process to re-
cruit a permanent commissioner, which has been on
hold since 2016 when the required legal framework
was completed, Gomes said the process could not
advance until the PSC was duly constituted.
When that was done on February 1, the PSC met
the following day and decided to notify the firm
which met the request for proposals for the re-
Gomes said after the firm was notified, the Di-
rector of Personnel Administration was told to start
negotiating terms, conditions and a budget for the
Given that the recruitment process is costing $2.5
million, she said the more cost-effective process
would be to allow the PSC to do it, though it might
mean having to "beef up" staff. She said a project
team could handle the matter rather than hiring
JSC member Jennifer Baptiste-Primus asked if
the PSC was satisfied with current CoP Stephen
Williams, given his current performance in various
areas including crime detection and maintaining
law and order.
Gomes said while to the public it may seem the
PSC wasn't holding the CoP to a higher percentage
on crime detection---now at 10 per cent---the latter
was only an indirect indicator of performance. This
was because as the CoP was head of the police ser-
vice, he himself wasn't specifically going out and
fighting crime, she added.
Gomes said the PSC in doing performance ap-
praisals, had to consult the police service to get
PSC assistant director (research/evaluation) Al-
fred Gray said the last appraisal rating available for
Williams and senior officers was in 2014. He said
appraisals for 2015 and 2016 will take a little longer
to complete, since the M/E consultant was hired
in 2015 to assist.
For the 2014 appraisal, Williams received a grade
of "very good," as did then then DCP (Crime) Glen
Hackett, while DCP (Administration) at the time,
Anne Marie Alleyne ,received a grade of "good."
The then DCP (Operations) Harold Phillips received
a grade of "satisfactory."
Baptiste-Primus said appraisals should be timely
so that weaknesses could be pointed out. She said
T&T is in 2017 and if a CoP was doing something
wrong, there should be some way to be fair to the
person, tell them to "pull brakes" and give them an
opportunity to improve.
JSC member Nigel de Freitas cautioned the PSC
that there must be a deadline for fixing things.
Religious heads tell cops:
Be angels of hope
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